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Mild 2010 Flu Season So Far

Although the flu season has been under way for nearly two months, its fever, runny nose, sore muscles and nausea symptoms haven't been too common yet in York County, according to health officials.


York Dispatch, Lauren Whetzel, Nov 29, 2010

Although the flu season has been under way for nearly two months, its fever, runny nose, sore muscles and nausea symptoms haven't been too common yet in York County, according to health officials.

A typical "flu year" runs from early October through September of the following year.

But the season typically peaks in December and continues through February, said Holli Senior, spokeswoman with the state's Department of Health.

To date, the state has confirmed 78 flu cases, four of which came from York County.

Pennsylvanians between the ages of 25 and 49 lead the flu pack, logging 22 cases since Oct. 3.

Over the past week, the state reported a small increase in flu cases and influenza-like illness in the western part of the state, and two deaths were reported, Senior said.

York Hospital's emergency department and primary care physicians from WellSpan Medical Group, however, haven't seen much flu activity, said spokesman Barry Sparks.

So far, no one has been admitted to the hospital as a result of the flu, Sparks said.

Similarly, Memorial Hospital's physicians have yet to see any flu cases this season, said spokeswoman Josette Myers.

Keep healthy: Rolling a sleeve up for a flu shot this year is the best way for Pennsylvanians to keep themselves and their loved ones protected from the virus, said Senior.

About 1,000 deaths occur each year across the state because of the flu, she said.

Nov. 22 marked the state's first reported flu-related death of the 2010-11 flu season, a 45-year-old man from Lehigh County, according to the department.

He was confirmed to have 2009 H1N1, last year's swine flu, a strain which is included in this year's seasonal flu vaccine, said acting Secretary of Health Michael Huff.

The vaccine also protects against two other strains of flu, A/H3N2 and influenza B, all of which are well matched with what is beginning to circulate in Pennsylvania, he added.

York City residents can receive the flu shot by making an appointment with the city's Bureau of Health from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Appointments can be made by calling 815-0910.

In addition to the flu shot, several other preventive steps can be taken to stay healthy, according to the Department of Health:

---Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and immediately throw away the used tissue. If you don't have a tissue, sneeze and cough into your sleeve, but never into your hands or onto bare skin.

---Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

---Keep hands away from your face and do not touch your mouth, nose or eyes.

---Keep frequently used surfaces such as knobs, countertops and desks clean.

---When sick, stay home from work or school.

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